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Variety Hits Mailbag

May 26, 2005

From: Anne Marie Pemberton
To: LouPickney@gmail.com
Date: May 26, 2005 8:44 AM
Subject: "What we want to play:

Dear Lou.

RE: ever-growing Variety Hits format.

This is exciting news in the radio business surely. I remember when there were only a few FM radio stations in the Washington D.C. area that would play lots of unknown European bands in the late 60's through the 70's. It was great; having gone to scholl in Germany.

My husband and I have a very large collection of musik spanning lotsa og genre, and ages too, from the 30's through the 90's, and I can tell you, sometimes over the years, our children would really think that Mom and Dad had lost it when we'd put on some of our randomly recorded tapes.

One in particular starts off with Edith Piaf, with her hauntingly sould voice phasing into George Harrison's "Here comes the Sun", followed by Panama Red, then Mack the Knife......

We've always had this feeling about musik, especially when you can blend song after song into your own format. Some of the tapes are four hours long on reels.

Just wanted to express our appreciation for the format that isn't new by all means, but it's definately a breath of fresh aire.

Ciao!
Anne Pemberton

Lou: I've had discussions with people both inside and outside of "the business" about the format and if it's really something new or a dressed-up version of the local radio format that has existed in one way or another for decades. My take is that it does have the variety elements of the wide playlists of the old "full service" stations, but Variety Hits is a focused format that uses songs meant to appeal specifically to people age 35-44, with the ultimate aim of appealing to the P25-54 (Persons, or Adults, 25-54 years of age) demographic, which is the big money demo of radio.

A good Variety Hits station is designed to look like it really will play anything, but in reality the criteria for airplay is stricter than it looks. Widespread recognition (and positive at that) is important. Having been a hit song (which ties in to the widespread recognition) is important as well. Overall, while there are some aspects of old-school "50s through modern day" radio, a well-programmed Variety Hits station is more limited in time scope and playlist than it may appear on the surface.


From: Tony Palermo
To: LouPickney@gmail.com
Date: May 26, 2005 10:32 AM
Subject: Variety

Is there any chance whatsoever of this variety format coming to SW Florida? Our choices here are pretty bad.

Lou: I've followed the Ft. Myers/Naples market closely for a few years now, dating back to when I was in charge of syndicating the Bubba the Love Sponge show. Making an analysis of the market, I'd say there's a fair chance of Variety Hits arriving there, though it might depend on what Renda Broadcasting decides to do.

Renda is known for utilizing satellite-fed formats, and with Westwood One launching its "SAM" Variety Hits format next month (June 6), it wouldn't be a surprise to me if Renda dropped the classic hits format on 98.9 WGUF or the Hot AC format on WSGL and put SAM on in its place. Both WGUF and WSGL have good signals in Naples but don't reach Ft. Myers particularly well, though WSGL has the better of the two.

Beyond that, Clear Channel could put the format on there, though it only has the format on in three markets nationwide. I doubt it'll happen from them. Meridian controls Hot AC powerhouse WINK-FM, so I doubt it would go Variety Hits. Beasley could potentially take a station Variety Hits, but its stations seem to be doing fine at the present time, so I don't anticipate a change there.

Copyright 2005-2009 Lou Pickney. All Rights Reserved.